For several decades, automobile manufacturers placed an emphasis on the development of technologies meant to improve auto collision safety. Recently however, driven by consumer demand, much of that emphasis has shifted to the development of technologies designed to improve convenience or provide entertainment within motor vehicles. Of course there is a price to be paid for all this convenience and entertainment; these systems can cause distracted driving accidents.
According to the US Department of Transportation, distracted driving accidents caused 3,331 deaths in the year 2011 alone. To put that number in perspective, it is roughly equal to the total number of US service members killed in action during all of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Consider that for a moment – roughly equal to the number of service members killed in Afghanistan since 2001. Quite simply, distracted driving causes car accident fatalities.
Driving distractions come in many forms: texting, phone calls, surfing the Web, video, reading, using a navigation system, adjusting a radio, etc. Today, much of this distracting technology is being incorporated directly into the vehicles we drive. These visual, manual or cognitive tasks, though simple, cause drivers to lose focus; and even though many of these tasks take mere seconds to accomplish, those few seconds at highway speeds equate to hundreds of feet of distracted driving. For example, a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study showed that the act of text messaging can take a driver’s eyes off the road for a total of more than 20 seconds. At 60 MPH, that is more than a mile of distracted driving.
Department of Transportation Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving
To combat this flood of motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving, the Department of Transportation has developed a Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving. As part of the plan, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently announced the development of distraction guidelines which establish criteria for electronic devices installed in new vehicles. The provisions of these guidelines are voluntary, but the guidelines are only one facet of the department’s plan of regulation, enforcement and education to decrease distracted driving accidents. The new guidelines recommend that manufacturers limit the time a driver is distracted by a given task to two seconds at a time. Additionally, the guidelines suggest that some capabilities such as manual text entry, video entertainment and the display of text messages should be disabled unless the car is in park.
The actions of the Transportation department are admirable, but it is ultimately the responsibility of the driver to operate the vehicle with due caution and good sense.
Philadelphia Auto Accident Lawyers Protect the Rights of Car Accident Victims
Distracted driving accidents can change your life in moments and can take away your ability to work and to enjoy life. If you or someone you love has been injured as the result of an automobile accident caused by distracted driving, contact the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates. Our accident attorneys understand the complexities involved in auto accident cases and have the resources to seek justice and compensation for victims who are injured or killed by someone else’s negligence. Our compassionate legal team provides exceptional representation and personal attention to our clients while aggressively pursuing the fair and full compensation for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages or income and property damage.
Call us today at 215-567-6600 for a free consultation to discuss your case with one of our experienced auto accident lawyers or submit an online inquiry. We respond promptly 24 hours a day/7 days a week. With offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Voorhees, New Jersey, we handle accident cases throughout many Pennsylvania and New Jersey communities including Philadelphia County, Bucks County, Montgomery County, Chester County and Delaware County.